"There's no doubt, if you're smoking this stuff, you're gambling with your life."
That's the stark warning to users of synthetic cannabis from an emergency room doctor in Christchurch after a "nasty batch" of the drug has caused 10 people to overdose in the city in the last 48 hours.
Dr Mark Gilbert said there are eight people still critically ill and "we can’t guarantee they’ll live".
The people were unconscious when they arrived at the emergency room, the doctor said.
"When the patients come to the emergency room, we're finding they're in various states of unconsciousness, they can’'t really tell us anything, we get very little information, sometimes no information."
He offered a stark warning to people using synthetic cannabis.
"There’s no doubt, if you’re smoking this stuff, you’re gambling with your life," he said.
"We’d strongly advise that particularly at the moment, where there seems to be a bad batch in Christchurch, that people stay away from smoking even small amounts of this."
"It seems there's no safe level of this drug to smoke."
Dr Gilbert said it appeared the "bad batch" of the drug being sold was "causing particularly severe affects".
He went on to say: "The symptoms of this range in severity, but they generally start off with some agitation and confusion then precede to coma and seizures and in severe cases, cardiac rhythm disturbances and this can precede to cardiac arrest and death," he said.